Skip to main content

From FCE, (boilerplate) doubt about AY timing; Nets losses prompt $13M loan

While Atlantic Yards supporters have criticized opponents for delaying the project by filing a lawsuit challenging the environmental review, it turns out that developer Forest City Ratner has much more than legal delays on its mind.

Also, while the rate of losses for the New Jersey Nets has slowed, the parent company must still offer a $13 million loan to fund the team this year.

According to the annual report issued at the end of March by parent Forest City Enterprises, other factors, including increased construction costs and the availability of tax-exempt financing, also play into potential delays. The language is required boilerplate, but it does stand in contrast to the sunny predictions, despite countervailing evidence, that the project will be completed in the promised ten years.

The annual report states:
Brooklyn Atlantic Yards. We are in the process of developing Brooklyn Atlantic Yards, a $4.0 billion mixed-use project in downtown Brooklyn expected to feature an 850,000 square foot sports and entertainment arena for the Nets basketball team, a franchise of the NBA. The acquisition and development of Brooklyn Atlantic Yards has been formally approved by the required state governmental authorities but final documentation of the transactions are subject to the completion of negotiations with local and state governmental authorities, including negotiation of the applicable development documentation. There is also the possibility that condemnation of the land will be needed for the development and potential removal, remediation or other activities to address environmental contamination at, on, under or emanating to or from the land. There are also various lawsuits filed challenging the approval process and use of eminent domain which may not be resolved in our favor resulting in Brooklyn Atlantic Yards not being developed with the features we anticipate. There is also the potential for increased costs and delays to the project as a result of (i) increasing construction costs, (ii) scarcity of labor and supplies, (iii) our inability to obtain tax exempt financing or the availability of financing generally, (iv) increasing rates for financing, and (v) other potential litigation seeking to enjoin or prevent the project for which there may not be insurance coverage. The development of Brooklyn Atlantic Yards is being done in connection with the proposed move of the Nets to the planned arena. While we are part of an ownership group that acquired the Nets on August 16, 2004, the Arena itself (and its plans) along with any movement of the team is subject to approval by the NBA. If we do not receive this approval, we may not be able to develop Brooklyn Atlantic Yards to the extent intended or at all. Even if we are able to continue with the development, we would likely not be able to do so as quickly as originally planned.
(Emphasis added)

$929K in marketing costs

An intriguing squib describes more than $900,000 in unspecified marketing costs for Atlantic Yards. (What does that encompass beyond brochures and booths at street fairs?)

The excerpt:
Operating and Interest Expenses — Operating expenses increased $21,816,000, or 5.37%, for the year ended January 31, 2007 compared to the prior year. This increase was primarily the result of:
[several items]
...Increase of $929,000 related to non-capitalizable marketing and promotion costs for Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, New York.

AY milestones

The annual report cites the official Atlantic Yards approval:

Significant milestones occurring during 2006 included:
[several items]
...Announcing that New York's Public Authorities Control Board (PACB) unanimously approved our Atlantic Yards project, a mixed-use development in downtown Brooklyn whose main attraction is expected to be a new sports and entertainment arena for the Nets NBA basketball team and that Barclays PLC, a major global financial services provider, has signed a partnership agreement for the naming rights for the arena.

(Note: they’re referring to the fiscal year ending 1/31/07, not the calendar year, because the Barclays deal was announced in January.)

Nets losses continue, FCE's share decreases*

Regarding the Nets, Forest City owns about 21% of the team, and individuals associated with the company also own a significant chunk; Bruce Ratner is the "majority owner," according to the developer.

The losses have slowed, but they continue:
Our equity investment in the Nets incurred a pre-tax loss of $14,703,000 and $24,534,000 for the years ended January 31, 2007 and 2006, respectively, representing a decrease in expense of $9,831,000 compared to the prior year. For the period August 16, 2004 (inception) through January 31, 2005, our equity investment in the Nets incurred a pre-tax loss of $10,889,000, representing an increase in expense of $13,645,000 over the partial period of the previous year. For the years ended January 31, 2007, 2006 and 2005, we recognized approximately 17%, 31% and 38% of the net loss, respectively...

More details, and a loan:
Included in the losses for the years ended January 31, 2007, 2006 and 2005, are approximately $8,081,000, $16,213,000, and $7,750,000, respectively, of amortization, at our share, of certain assets related to the purchase of the team and our share of insurance premiums purchased on policies related to the standard indemnification required by the NBA. The remainder of the loss substantially relates to the operations of the team. The team is expected to operate at a loss in 2007 and will require additional capital to fund the loss. We have agreed to advance up to $13,000,000, in the form of a member loan, which is senior to both common and preferred equity of the partnership that owns an interest in the Nets, but subordinated to third party debt.

[*Update and correction: I originally wrote that Nets losses decreased; as noted in the comment below, it's not so much that the Nets losses have decreased, it's that Forest City's share of the losses has decreased.]

Warning on losses

Investors are warned that only a move to Brooklyn, and perhaps not even that, will bring profits to the Nets. Again, that's boilerplate, since obviously the developer expects big profits from a suite-intensive arena:
Losses Are Expected for the Nets
On August 16, 2004, we purchased a legal ownership interest in the Nets… The relocation of the Nets is, among other items, subject to various approvals by the NBA, and we cannot assure you we will receive these approvals on a timely basis or at all. If we are unable to or delayed in moving the Nets to Brooklyn, we may be unable to achieve our projected returns on the related development projects, which could result in a delay in the return of, termination of, or losses on our investment. The Nets are currently operating at a loss and are projected to continue to operate at a loss at least as long as they remain in New Jersey. Even if we are able to relocate the Nets to Brooklyn, there can be no assurance that the Nets will be profitable in the future.


  1. The Nets losses have not dropped appreciably. You are confusing the FCE losses with the Nets' losses. The FCE agreement with the Nets calls for FCE to be responsible for smaller percentages of the franchises losses...from 38% to 31% to 17%. The $13 million loan essentially covers the losses in a different way.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Not quite the pattern: Greenland selling development sites, not completed condos

Real Estate Weekly, reporting on trends in Chinese investment in New York City, on 11/18/15 quoted Jim Costello, a senior vice president at research firm Real Capital Analytics:
“They’re typically building high-end condos, build it and sell it. Capital return is in a few years. That’s something that is ingrained in the companies that have been coming here because that’s how they’ve grown in the last 35 years. It’s always been a development game for them. So they’re just repeating their business model here,” he said. When I read that last November, I didn't think it necessarily applied to Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, now 70% owned (outside of the Barclays Center and B2 modular apartment tower), by the Greenland Group, owned significantly by the Shanghai government.
A majority of the buildings will be rentals, some 100% market, some 100% affordable, and several--the last several built--are supposed to be 50% market/50% subsidized. (See tentative timetable below.)

Selling development …

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

"There is no alternative": DM Glen on de Blasio's affordable housing strategy

As I've written, Mayor Bill de Blasio sure knows how to steer and spin coverage of his affordable housing initiatives.

Indeed, his latest announcement, claiming significant progress, came with a pre-press release op-ed in the New York Daily News and then a friendly photo-op press conference with an understandably grateful--and very lucky--winner of an affordable housing lottery.

To me, though, the most significant quote came from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
said public housing had been “starved” of federal support for years now, leaving the city with fewer ways of creating affordable housing. “Are we relying too heavily on the private sector?” she said. “There is no alternative.” Though Glen was using what she surely sees as a common-sense phrase, it recalls the slogan of a politician with whom I doubt de Blasio identifies: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative who believed in free markets.

It suggests the limits to …